“Leaping to success”


Marlee Baker, Co Editor-in-Chief

To some the thought of flying through the air to perform elaborate stunts before an audience is an overwhelming prospect.  But to freshman Isabella Turner, it’s her passion. She is entering her third year of competitive gymnastics at Classic Gymnastics, and is already turning heads.  During a recent meet in Las Vegas, Turner placed 1st overall in her division, scoring from 9.4 to 9.6 on beam, vault, bars and floor.  Her favorite event to participate in is floor exercise.  “It’s just so fun getting up on the floor and performing.  I don’t really focus on all my teammates cheering for me or all the gymnasts looking at me; I kinda just have fun, and I really love it,” said Turner.

Turner comes from an athletic family.  Her older brothers balance two sports each — the eldest plays basketball and track, while the younger brother participates in football and track here at West.  However, gymnastics has been the only option for Turner.  She admits she was in ballet for a few days when she was younger, but had craved something more fast paced.  “I watched a gymnast perform on TV and said I wanted to do that,” she said, and for the past 8 years she has.  Turner practices almost three hours a day, three days a week, aspiring to one day compete in the Olympics, though she would be content with the honor of participating in such an esteemed competition rather than necessarily walking away with a medal.

Gymnastics is not an easy sport for the faint of heart.  Turner often becomes upset when she makes a mistake within her routine.  However, she views this frustration as bittersweet.  “There’s a lot of things you think you can’t do,” she said, “but once you get over the fears you realize you can do anything.”  While practicing, Turner once fell off of a bar and hurt her back, causing her constant pain in her simple day-to-day activities.  It was hard at first, but eventually she was able to overcome the pain to correct the mistake that had caused her to become hurt, proving to herself she could triumph over any struggle. Gymnastics has helped her realize that while performing and throughout her normal day, “I can get over my frustration and fear.  So it’s definitely helped with taking tests.”

Gold medals are appreciated, but Turner’s accomplishments arise from progress and personal achievement.  It is clear to see the passion she bleeds for gymnastics, and with her dedication and desire to succeed she will go far.  Perhaps the Olympics aren’t as far away as they may seem!